It was strange being in a light long sleeved shirt all day, no jacket until the sun went down, in the middle of October. No complaints from me, it gave me a chance to attempt a little impromptu birding along the Arkansas River. The birding ended up being mainly hiking. I saw more birds after sunset than I saw all day – Sandhill cranes, mountain bluebirds, and an almost-friendly belted kingfisher (all personal favorites) none of which I got any photos of because it was too dark. The sunset made up for it all. Sometimes the reason you start with is not the purpose you discover. Peace.
I keep noticing that I repeatedly make the same error when texting with my phone. Whenever I type the word “love” my thumb seems to always accidentally hit the “i” instead of the “o”, so it reads “I live that” or “I live you”. Now, I hate typos – I admit I over-proof-read my texts or status updates – and I cringe every time I hit “send” only to look up and find that I’ve misspelled (did I spell that right?) something. However, today when I was texting my daughter, and noticed that I had indeed typed “live you” rather than “love you”, it struck me not as a mistake, but as an “aha” moment of sorts!
When we love someone, or something, we truly do “live” him/her/it. It occupies our mind, our money goes towards it, we long to be engaged in it! We want more of it. We want to be good at it. We want recognition for it. That person, activity, or object feeds us in some way. We feel better about life, and ourselves. We receive the strength to continue on, love, excitement, motivation, perhaps even acceptance. How disconcerting to be committed to something (job, relationship, activity) that drains us of vitality, rather than inspiring us towards wholeness and fulfillment!
Living love means putting love into action. It means laying aside things of lesser priority. Relationally it means laying aside MY needs, MY instinct to win, MY instinct to be served, MY urge to get even – it means NOT needing my love to be reciprocated right away.
Living love means serving others, however, serving does not mean being at their beckoned call, doing for them what they can do for themselves, or living in a relationship that is one-sided. Authentic serving through “lov”ing is that incredible condition of the heart in which making someone else happy does not feel like a sacrifice. It’s the invigoration of knowing that you have made someone’s life a little easier, made someone else feel appreciated and valued, given them the compassion they needed, the smile they didn’t realize they had lost.
Living love means taking the first step – initiating the first move to clear up a misunderstanding, righting a wrong, saying “I’m sorry.”
Living love means taking on someone else’s agenda, when you had already made plans of your own.
Living love means taking responsibility for your own words, actions, or behaviors that have caused a breach in a relationship.
Living love means consciously striving to out-do the other person in kindnesses shown.
Living love means not keeping score.
Living love means offering, and accepting, true forgiveness.
Living love means being quiet long enough to listen….and remaining quiet long enough to truly hear!
Living love means being at peace with the fallibility of others, and ourselves. It means moving off the well-worn path of criticizing or correcting, and creating a new path wide enough for two people to walk through the struggles of life hand-in-hand.
This week, whenever you would normally use the word “love”, make a conscious effort to use the word “live” and see what a difference it will make in the way you view the people and activities in your life. It could be quite eye opening. You may find that you are giving way too much of your self to some activities, and not nearly enough to the people in your life. You might find that you really do take pleasure in knowing your life revolves around the well-being of that loved one. Who knows, you might even find a new calling.
And the next time you accidentally type “live” rather than “love”, don’t fix it. Just leave it there as a testament to your resolve to live love deliberately!
I live that! Don’t you?
(Spiritual Reflections from the Red Sofa 08/24/2011, (also in family journal, republished on Facebook. Doug’s photo is from Staniel Cay, Exumas, Bahamas.)
A Doug Rudnik term for typing mistakes when typing/texting on a phone, the most notable example being i/o.
You’ve heard about not being able to see the forest for all the trees, but you can’t fully understand that paradox until you have been there. I’ve been in situations where I have lost all sense of direction in the trees. The horizon has completely vanished, no landmarks, no sun, no trail. One time as a kid, I climbed a tree above Poudre Canyon looking for Washout Gulch – it worked!
I remember when my son and I hiked to Bierstadt Lake in the morning darkness for sunrise pics. We like to have never found the lake. We had left the trail in a different place than we intended and only accidentally found the lake. Ha! That could have ended badly! In fact, two out-of-state hikers had to be rescued from that same area about two weeks later. They had gotten lost in the deep dark forest!
I’ve never been afraid of the forest, neither do I get overly concerned when it seems like I have lost my way in life. It’s temporary and I eventually stumble on to a familiar landmark that points me onward.
A few years ago I lost my way in my personal life. My wife, Toni, was the landmark that showed me the way back home. I also recall losing my way when I was forced to transition from a salaried career to hourly employment, tough years. Another time, soon after having lasik surgery, I had a hard time driving my way out of the Pawnee Butte area in NE Colorado. There were no trees, but my healing vision was severely blurred that night and I could not read my map, or the road signs!!
Getting “lost” for two days on the South Fork of the Poudre River at age 19 comes to mind. I knew where I was, it’s just that no one else knew where I was, or if I were okay. I was fishing and had mis-measured the distance I had to travel. At least I had the sense to not risk my safety by continuing in difficult mountainous terrain when night fell.
In each of these events, I was able to eventually find my way. Someone could rightfully say that it was my own poor judgment that had gotten me lost. I agree, but I can’t condemn myself because the brain that got me lost was the same brain that got me found! I tapped in to my deeper instincts. I gained a new perspective. I walked through and eventually out, one step at a time. Same guy, at the exact same time in his life, got lost and then found. And this has been repeated over and over, as it has for all of us.
Do you understand the significance of this?? The ability, knowledge and intuition were all present in me AS I was getting lost to begin with! The change was in perspective, a turning point, a new piece of information, or corrected information, a new factor, a new player, or a new resolve.
The Loser and the Finder are ONE!
Our personal wisdom and maturity will not always keep us out of trouble – ha! Lost happens. Don’t beat yourself up too badly for getting yourself lost because you would also be beating up the person that got you found! The Loser and the Finder are one in the same!
If you are still lost, know that you already have it in you to be found. Don’t panic! Don’t stress! Don’t become discouraged!
There is within you an ember – we are all born with it! To each one is given the measure of faith. In the same way that an ember can start a massive forest fire, this measure of faith inside you is everything you need for life, wholeness, wisdom, awareness, creative problem solving, emotional intelligence, spiritual adrenaline and stamina.
Fear not the forest, rather turn it into firewood! Fan into flame the gift that is within you! Light a fire that will show you the way! You are not lost! You are right where you need to be to learn what you need to learn, to prepare you for what is yet being formulated in your future.
You may have gotten yourself into this, but you will also get yourself out!
You may be in a situation not of your own choosing, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop choosing! It may be time to choose something else!
You may be having trouble finding your way. Follow those who have gone on before you, who surround you now. Lean on us! We are all in this together – you belong!
“When the awareness of what is achievable brushes your life, your journey has begun.”
―Lorii Myers, author
Peak Week, Day 7:
- Doug on Twin Sisters Peak – 11,428′ 7/15/2012
- Doug on Long’s Peak – 14,259′ 7/21/2012
I love the perspective that these photos offer. In regards to reaching goals, it shows the higher goal from the view of the recently accomplished goal. It shows the view back to the lower goal from the just-accomplished higher goal, and it shows the vast chasm of perseverance between the two. Life coaches tell us of the importance of vision mapping – keeping our goals at the forefront of our consciousness, and using the vision to guide us through the gauntlet of distractions.
I couldn’t let Peak Week end without capping off photos OF peaks with a couple of photo views FROM the peaks. I don’t know what mountain you are facing in your life, but I want to encourage you to begin mapping your vision to get where you know you need to go. Make a plan, count the cost, revise the plan, visualize the steps of the plan, study the skills required to fulfill the plan, commit to the plan, then go in the direction of your dreams!
And remember, I’m rooting for you!
In all my years growing up in Colorado, going to the mountains, visiting Estes Park, and Rocky Mountain National Park, I never knew that Long’s Peak was climbable. The giant rock summit looked unattainable, but always admired as a magnificent mountain. Upon moving back to Colorado in 1994 was the first that I learned that Long’s was actually a very popular climb, albeit challenging. That was my “brush with awareness” and that summer I completed my first Longs summit climb, 16 miles round trip, about net 5000’ in elevation gain. Since then I have returned to the mountain about a dozen times. 2012 was my last summit, my personal fastest, before injuring my back in a freak accident at home. After climbing to over 100 summits, these past seven years have seen me anchored reluctantly to the lower forest trails.
This past December my back received extensive repairs that appear to have been very successful! I have once again felt the brush of awareness of what may be attainable! I will probably never return to the aggressive level of climbing that would like to do, however, I have set a goal to once again ascend to the summit of Long’s – probably the summer/fall of 2021. I’ll be 60 years old, hopefully back to full strength and endurance. My journey has begun! 🏔🏕☀️
Make a loose fist then set it on a table, palm down. Now stick out your pointer finger and lift it from the table. No problem, right? Now put that finger back into your fist and try your middle finger. A little harder, but still fairly easy. Now put that finger back into your fist and try your little finger – easy. Now try your ring finger. What happened??? It probably did not leave the table. If it did, you probably had to give great effort.
It’s interesting that the wedding ring goes on this weakest finger. Partners are intended to be there for one another in their weakest hour. It seems self-defeating for partners to feel like they have to solve their issues on their own. They are missing the greatest gift of their life! Likewise, being there for the struggling partner in full love, support and acceptance is our greatest privilege and duty. Don’t be that dead weight in the relationship that won’t lift a finger to help!! Be a team, be a united force, be a defender rather than a critic. Don’t be the one always trying to change the other, yet at the same time, take your partner’s clues about what they need changed in the relationship. Each one should be as strong as they can be, yet be ready to lean, and be leaned upon, when needed. Circle the wagons around your loved one. Fiercely guard the bond you share – the love, the friendship, the joys, and the unique callings that each brings to the world. Celebrate your individualities! If you are ever tempted to point a finger at the other, make sure it’s the one with the ring on it – do it from out of your own weakness, with humility and grace. Let love reign supreme!
Dedicated to Toni. You are my strength! #us4ever
Yesterday was National Coming Out Day, but I just couldn’t do it.
That’s changed. This morning when I got up, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I stood there for several minutes staring…examining…judging what I saw staring back at me. The real me. Right there in front of me. That’s Doug.
Maybe it’s time after all to face up to the facts – quit hiding behind the facade – quit trying to make myself believe that it isn’t true. Maybe it’s time to face reality. Maybe it’s time to just acknowledge it – come to terms with the cards I’ve been dealt. I wasn’t born this way – trust me! Yet I can’t say that it has been a matter of choice. The truth is, I have fought it every step of the way. In spite of my futile efforts, the image before me in the mirror tells me that it’s all been for naught.
I catch people looking at me. It’s like they can see right through me. I can see it in their eyes – they know! I feel judged – like, I’m not fully human – like, I have no useful value to society – like, I don’t belong! Their sympathetic grins make me feel like I’m two feet tall. Oh, sure, they would never say anything to my face, but I can tell that they are treating me different than if I were more like them. Deep down I want to scream back, “You think you know me, but you don’t! I’m intelligent! I’m funny! I’m sexy! I’m talented! I’m creative! I’m capable! I have loads of wisdom and experience that would benefit your life if you would only ask!”
Well, today is the day – my day to speak out, to turn over a new leaf, start a new chapter. It’s time for me to be fully who I am, to embrace the true me. No more hiding. No more pretending. No more self-pity. No more cowering. It’s time for me to stand up tall, with head held high, and let the world know that I am not ashamed!
And so, here it is…..
My name is Doug Rudnik, and I……. am gray!
Yes, you read that right! I’m gray! And it’s not just a little around the temples – it’s all over head to toe – gray! And you know what, I really am proud of it! It looks good on me! My dad turned gray early. For me, it began when I was about 27. While I still have a few resistant strands here and there, I know that it’s just a matter of time until even they succumb to this undeniable sign of growing older. I do feel a bit rejected at times. My brain tells me that I am just as strong, just as fast, just as good looking as I ever was. However, trying to keep up with people half my age quickly reveals its fallacy, disproving the popular notion that we are only as old as we feel.
We have a youth-obsessed mentality in our culture. We have creams, dyes, surgical procedures, pills, and diets all geared to make us look/feel/perform younger. For the first time in my life, I have a President that is younger than me (by less than two months).** The young people growing up now have no concept of life without cell phones, internet, microwave ovens, email, or video games. Somewhere along the way, we became afraid of growing older. Next year when I turn 50, I will qualify for AARP (American Association of Retired Persons…. I had to look that up! ha!) and I will be 14.7 years older than the median age in America. Even remaining relatively healthy my medical costs are rising by at least 4.4% per year. As I get older, I will not only continue to experience changes in my appearance, but also in my hearing, vision, muscle and bone mass, circulation, organ function, not to mention the possibilities of Alzheimer’s Disease .
That being said, growing older doesn’t mean growing more useless, or irrelevant. In fact, some of the world’s greatest accomplishments and inventions have been achieved after the age of 50. Take this short list of examples:
Thomas Jefferson became President of the United States at age 61, and in his later years conceived, planned, designed, and supervised the construction of the University of Virginia.
Colonel (Harlan) Sanders began his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise with $105.00 from his first Social Security check at the age of 65.
Julia Child did not begin her long-running PBS program “The French Chef” until the age of 51.
Ronald Reagan, a former actor, union leader, and corporate spokesman, was first elected to public office at 55 when he became Governor of California and remains the oldest man to have served as U.S. President.
Walt Disney officially opened Disney World on July 18, 1955 at the age of 54.
Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t write and publish “Little House on the Prairie” until age 65.
Taikichiro Mori left academia at the age of 55 to become a real estate investor. When he died in 1993 he was the richest man in the world.
Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses is one of the biggest names in American folk art, yet did not begin painting until well into her 70’s.
What was their secret? As you read their stories you discover that:
- They were primarily people who were self-employed, or at least self-motivated.
- They let their advanced years of knowledge, experience, and wisdom work for them, not limit them.
- They stepped out of their comfort zone and took risks to create something new that would benefit others.
- They worked hard – with passion, dedication, and enthusiasm, but they also worked smart!
- They weren’t afraid to fail. (Thomas Edison is said to have failed 1,000 times before inventing the light bulb)
- They partnered with people who had the skills they lacked. (KFC was actually made successful by partner Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s)
- They never stopped learning.
- They found something that they truly enjoyed doing.
For me, “coming out” means emerging from old ways of thinking, old limitations, old expectations, and old routines – not because “old” is bad, but because the successes of the future cannot be achieved by the old ways. Automobiles were not possible until combustion was understood and harnessed. Electronic devices could not be invented until the semiconductor was conceptualized and then maximized. Books can’t be written until the author has a message. Music cannot be composed until the musician expresses a song. Dreams do not become reality until we say “yes” to the still small voice within us.
For me, “pride” is not about my race, nationality, past accomplishments, self-supposed entitlements, or the labels that I choose to bear. Pride comes from rising up, moving on, and giving back – going where I have never gone before, thinking thoughts I’ve never thought before, creating what I’ve never imagined before, persevering like I never have before. It means standing on my own two feet, while joining hands with others. It means accepting people for who they are, and the gifts they bring to humanity – not by the generic labels that bigots use to discredit them. It means taking personal responsibility to solve the problems I see – not in sitting back and waiting to be bailed out.
What I see when I look in the mirror is a reflection of the person I have chosen to be – but I know it is not the person I am yet to be. I acknowledge that I am neither pleased nor displeased with myself without reason. The fruit of my life is a direct result of my own utilization of God’s natural/spiritual laws. Whether at age 49, or 99, the sum total of my life is not in the trophies on my shelf, but in the billions of moments in which I either chose to be productive, destructive, or apathetic. The joy of seeing my dreams leave my head and emerge in my reality will be the result of the efforts I dedicate to them. My reward is in knowing that someone else’s life is better because of it all.
It may not be that black or white to you, but that’s giving it to you straight!
(**This piece was first published as a Facebook note on this day in 2010, reference is to President Barack Obama.)